First of all, wood is a ‘warm’ and living building material, which ‘lives and moves’ after assembling a log cabin. It is one of the oldest materials used in home construction.
Wood has many excellent properties, making it a useful material in many areas of production. We use the wood of slow-growing spruce and pine trees for the production of our log cabins. As well as the beauty, durability and practicality of wood, this material has other properties that need to be considered. One of them is the movement or ‘settling’ of wood. That is the name given to the process when wood shrinks as it dries, but swells, expands when it gets wet again. This feature can cause a variety of minor defects in the product, such as cracks or bumps.
Wood shrinks and expands in one main direction; the other changes are completely insignificant and usually have no effect on a log cabin. The amplitude of expansion and contraction depends on the type of wood, even on the format of individual boards, and the way they are fixed in place. Another factor is the age of the wood, i.e. the time since the tree was cut down. Wood that was cut longer ago is less flexible than freshly cut wood. Experienced loggers say that boards can fluctuate on average by about 1 mm per twenty centimetres, and sometimes even more. The way the wood is dried before processing is of particular importance.
When using softwood from conifers in the production of log cabins, it is necessary to treat it properly to make it suitable for outdoor use. We recommend choosing softwood from conifers because it is more environmentally friendly. Hardwood trees take longer to grow, and longer to dry out when cut. It also needs to be imported from further away, and its extra weight means that more energy is needed to transport it. It is also cut into thinner boards, so more cuts need to be made and more energy is used.
The movement or settlement of the wood is often less significant in smaller wooden products, but in the construction of log cabins, it can have a huge impact. If large wooden surfaces are joined together, this property of the wood must be taken into account; otherwise the product may break, bend, weaken or collapse.